Blogger Alexandria Goddard worked to unravel the systematic coverup of the Steubenville High School rape case. Now, she’s sharing her story in a gripping true-crime documentary that brings daylight to a story that desperately needed it.
Roll Red Roll, directed by globally recognized human rights activist Nancy Schwartzman, goes beyond the headlines of the notorious case in small-town Ohio and shifts the spotlight and burden from the victims to the perpetrators, bystanders, witnesses and community. Following its theatrical release, the film is now streaming on Netflix. It tells the story of how the victim and her story got swept under the rug, how the story divided the town, and how only external pressure brought some semblance of justice.
“I’m happy to see this documentary is getting some traction,” said Marc Randazza. “Alexandria Goddard is a First Amendment hero, and people need to know that.”
Randazza represented Goddard pro bono when she was sued for defamation for her coverage of the incident.
“There was a gang rape and the local police didn’t care, the mainstream press didn’t care. Nobody cared except Alexandria — a blogger,” he says. “Ultimately, her writing uncovered that not only was there a rape, but an underlying system of adults in this high school and community actively engaging in coverups of this kind of incident.”
And, as often happens, when Goddard started telling the story, someone tried to shut her up using the legal system.
“As a First Amendment lawyer, this is right at the core of what I want to protect,” said Randazza. “And, I couldn’t take money from her to do it. That victim, and all of the other victims, deserved the full array of support that we could bring to bear.”
Randazza represents a wide array of characters that society deems undesirable, such as white supremacists, but he also gets to help people like Goddard.
“I got flak from people who didn’t want the story told,” Randazza said. “But, when you stand up for anyone’s free speech, that will happen – and it is well worth it.”
“When you defend a nazi’s free speech rights, that defense also protects the blogger exposing a systematic rape factory,” he says. “Defending a KKK march also protects civil rights protesters. Defending the Satanist also protects the Christian. The First Amendment is a neutral principle and it requires an almost zen-like perfect symmetry of balance.”